Did you hear about the Detroit woman who’s suing FOX’s hit drama television series Empire because she says she’s the real “Cookie?” Well she’ll have to get in line behind hundreds of others claiming her same dilemma.
You won’t believe which TV shows have been accused of stealing plots and which ones of them actually did (and who they screwed over to do it)!
That same Detroit woman we mentioned earlier will have to get in line behind Sean “Diddy” Combs before being dealt with. Diddy says he’s suing Lee Daniels for copying his life to create the cunning musical mastermind Luscious Lyon:
“It’s basically my life except the ALS stuff. All the homosexuality and everything that’s pretty much been done too. They might as well have called it Breaking Bad Boy…I think they might owe me some royalties. You can’t just put out the Sean Combs Biography without paying me and I’m filing a $100 million dollar lawsuit.”
If this one is true, Eddie Murphy’s baby mama Tamara Johnson has every right to be mad. Tamara says she pitched The Hollywood Ex Club to VH1 back in 2008 but was told “no thank you.”
So you can imagine her surprise when VH1 aired the first episode of Hollywood Exes, starring none other than Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife, Nicole Murphy. Now, Tamara is suing for a cool million for being cut out of the deal.
Love & Hip Hop
Did Mona Scott-Young steal the idea for Love & Hip-Hop? That’s what movie/television producers Trisha Lum and Nickie Lum-Davis are saying. They claim they pitched the exact same show–they called it Hip Hop Wives–to VH1, but were turned down. After seeing the show on the air under a different name, they are suing for an eight-figure pay-out.
Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermoot are in big trouble over their Oxygen reality show. Three producers are suing them for a total of $60 million. They say they pitched a show called Wedding Rescue to Tori and Dean back in 2007, then the reality TV veterans stole their idea and re-named it to avoid paying them one red cent.
The Peacemaker: L.A. Gang Wars
Did Ice-T steal the idea for his A&E show about gang-life on the west coast? Well, Ice settled out of court with the man who says he pitched the idea before being cut out of the deal. So, the answer might be “yes.”
The Haves and the Have Nots
Tyler Perry is famous for turning plays into hit TV shows, and one woman says he stole her play and turned it in to the The Haves and the Have Nots.
Class of 3000
Question: just how long is too long ago for you to claim your idea was stolen? Because the man who sued Andre 3000 for stealing his similar TV idea called The Music Factory of the ’90s pitched his show back in 1997. However, the decade-long gap between his idea and Andre’s didn’t stop him for asking for over $2 million in restitution.
New Girl might not be so new after all. Two writers say they pitched a show about a single girl who moved into a loft with three male roommates to Fox called Square One. They even recommended Zooey Deschanel for the lead.
And if the $10,000 settlement Fox offered them in exchange for not suing is any cue, these two might have a case. Unfortunately, that case has been pending in court for years.
NBCU readily admits that they took the idea for Ghost Hunters from parapsychologist Larry Montz and publicist Daena Smoller. But they say that the shows creators waited too long to sue for the theft so they get zero percent of the royalties.
It shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that a TV show about clones might have been cloned–illegally. BBC America is currently being sued by writer Stephen Hendricks for stealing the idea for Orphan Black from a screenplay they read but said they passed on in 2004. Since the creator of the show admitted to working with Hendricks’ writing partners when creating Orphan Black this still-pending court case might come out in his favor.
TV producer John Hotchkiss is telling anyone who will listen that Mythbusters stole his ideas. Hotchkiss says he was in talks to sell his show This v. That with the Discovery Channel and then they stole his ideas and incorporated them into Mythbusters episodes. He’s now spreading his story (The Discovery Channel asked him not to but didn’t offer him any money) in hopes that it will inspire The Discovery Channel to do the right thing.
Steven Seagal: Lawman
Steven Seagal pulled a not-so-cool move when he took the idea from Steven Seagal: Lawman after a company called the Idea Factory pitched it to him. Steven tried to cut them out of the big pay day, but they successfully sued him for millions to get their fair share of revenue for the show.